Opelika citizens vote in favor of property tax to benefit Opelika City Schools

Opelika citizens vote in favor of property tax to benefit Opelika City Schools

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - In 1965, a special property tax was introduced in Opelika that contributes approximately $2 million for Opelika City Schools a year.

School administrators say the special property tax brings in funds that the state funds can't provide that are important to students.

"It's critical for Opelika City Schools," Mayor Gary Fuller said.  "It means about $2 million and about 40 percent of their general fund budget."

From kindergarten to students that are about to graduate the tax covers all levels of the school system.

"It helps with transportation, technology, teachers, our career tech programs," Superintendent Mark Neighbors. "Starting in our elementary school with our STEM programs, the state really doesn't provide funds for that so there's really not a classroom this local money doesn't support."

Neighbors explained that other rural school systems across Alabama have to work hard for fundraising at a local level just for basic needs, but this tax allows the schools to go the extra mile for students to explore the world after they graduate.

"We're frugal with our money, but we also want to make sure our students have exposure to things they need and assets they need to be successful," Neighbors said.

At lunch time, just over 130 people voted at the Opelika Sportsplex polling location. Andre Fields is one of the people who voted "YES" to renew the tax. "I have kids in Opelika City Schools and I just want to make sure everything is in place," Fields said.

Final results revealed ninety-five percent voted in favor of renewing the bill and five percent voted against it, according to Fuller.

Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.